Everything was planned out — speakers lined up, venues reserved and community Shabbat services planned for the biennial LimmudFest New Orleans in March 2020.
Then, 11 days before the weekend of Jewish learning was to begin, it was “postponed” because of this new virus called Covid-19 “out of an abundance of caution,” though at that point there were no reported cases in Louisiana.
LimmudFest organizers announced that the festival will return in 2023, the weekend of March 17. It will be the first in-person LimmudFest since 2018.
“Though we had a thought-provoking virtual LimmudFest in 2021, Zoom just could not replicate the feeling of community created by an in-person experience,” said Gail Chalew.
Limmud is a grassroots program that relies entirely on volunteers — including the speakers. A steering team is being organized “that reflects the diversity of the New Orleans Jewish community in terms of interests, Jewish background, affiliation, and age.”
The weekend, which draws participants from around the region, usually has 90 or more presenters on a wide range of topics, including academic, theological, artistic, musical, cultural and historical programs. There are also hands-on workshops and children’s programming.
The community’s congregations combine for Shabbat services at Gates of Prayer in Metairie, holding different service formats under one roof and then coming together for communal meals. Sessions then continue on Sunday at the Uptown Jewish Community Center.
Registration and keynote speaker information will be announced later this year.